A few people have expressed concerns to me about my recent theological paradigm shift to Open Theism. In fact one person told me I should never arrive at agreement with something so controversial without serious consideration and investigation.
There lies the misunderstanding. I did not arrive at this agreement without serious consideration nor did I arrive at this recently.
I have always been an Open Theist since the very first time I read the Bible from cover to cover. You see I was not a Christian nor had I even been convinced of even the existence of God when I first read His Word. Some of you know the story. I was in jail it was 1993 and I read the Bible everyday not with any quest for the truth or out of any curiosity whatsoever. I was reading it in front of the camera overlooking the cell pod in an effort to convince the guards I was changing. I wanted to make trustee, because in that small town the trustees were not in a cage. My goal was escape, which fortunately fell through because I never fooled anyone into making me a trustee.
The only problem is that I didn’t just pretend to read in order to pass the time I actually read. Having no previous theological training whatsoever I had never been taught what the Bible “actually teaches” about God. I just read it and accepted what I learned from it and it alone.
It was only after I became a Christian and started attending church and then later took several theological courses that I learned that God knows the future exhaustively, that He lives outside of time, that He can not change, and many many other things I had never conceived of by simply reading God’s Word without “proper guidance.”
Now I was a good Christian so I accepted these new “truths” about God and I heard out their reasonings from scripture to back up these teachings. That I was mistaking metaphors, anthropomorphisms, and allegories for literal truths. It did bother me that so much of the Bible could not be taken at face value but hey who was I to question my elders?
The problem is I kept reading and my previous beliefs I had arrived at from reading scripture alone kept pestering me to question my new beliefs arrived at from guidance.
I suspect if I were like most Christians who sit in Church for years before they ever follow through with a lifelong goal of actually reading the Bible for themselves I would have been better off. I would have known what the Bible “actually teaches” before I let it actually teach me anything that would confuse me. Unfortunately that was not the case.
Then one night while bored and browsing youtube I accidently stumbled onto a debate between an Open Theist (who just happened to be someone I already had been exposed to and loved but didn’t know his philosophical leanings) and a Calvinist. The Open theist was arguing the ideas I had as a young Christian before being taught differently and the Calvinist was actually more in agreement with the people that had taught me. Which was crazy because the people that had taught me were not Calvinist at all in fact they claimed to absolutely disagree with Calvinist. They were Arminian but none the less it appeared the Calvinist was debating their theology.
This is when I realized that what I thought the Bible taught in the first place might actually be plausible. When I learned I was not alone in my prior biblical conclusions.
Nevertheless I still did not completely agree with Open Theism at first it just interested me because it reminded me of a more “naive” time in my Christian life. A time when I believed most of the Bible was literal, not just to be literally interpreted but actually literal. So I did investigate and I did consider it thoroughly before accepting it’s teachings.
In short ( can I still say that at this point LOL) I have not departed from my theology, I have returned to it.